Boy, that Rick Grimes sure moves on quickly.
It felt like just yesterday that he was watching visions of romance with Alexandra Breckenridge drift away as Jessie was being devoured on The Walking Dead—OK, or just last week—and now, here he is, hooking up with Michonne. Wait a minute—Michonne?! Raise your hand if you saw that one coming because we sure didn't. But here we are. This is really happening.
From the start of the episode, we were scratching our heads about the nature of Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne's (Danai Gurira) relationship. It was clear some time had passed since the horrifying events of last week (Thanks, establishing photo of Carl [Chandler Riggs] smiling with an eye patch!), but how much? We couldn't really be sure. Our internal debate was cut very, very short as soon as Michonne showed up at Rick's bedroom door in nothing but a towel. Were they already bunking together?
They may not have been sharing a bed at the beginning of the hour, but by the end, they were jumping from high fives to hand holding to serious making out like it was a game of hopscotch. And what was so remarkable about the entire thing was just how natural it all felt. However much time has passed in Alexandria from the truly tragic walker invasion to this episode was enough that everyone was back to living life as if the entire world wasn't ending around them. There were smiles, there were jokes—hell, even Carl was up and about, adjusting very capably to his new normal. It's almost enough to make you forget that the arrival of the vicious Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is just around the corner.
Of course, we can't just talk about Richonne (Mick?) when we talk about this episode, as there were quite a few other major developments, as well. Chief among them? Jesus finally walked. And ran. And outsmarted Rick and Daryl (Norman Reedus) like the Road Runner to their Wile E. Coyotes. Tom Payne finally made his long-awaited arrival as pivotal comic book character Paul Monroe (his friends call him Jesus thanks to a similar look), encountering Alexandria's Batman and Robin out on a food run, challenging them to a game of cat and mouse over a semi-truck full of supplies.
Unwilling to hear Paul out (he did swipe the keys to the semi, and then the semi, from them, after all), Rick and Daryl wound up losing the contents of the truck to the bottom of a lake. But they gained a possible new ally, bringing their unconscious opponent back to Alexandria for a chance to heal from that painful encounter with the truck door. Will they learn to trust him? We're not sure, but if the comics are any indication, get ready for plenty of Come to Jesus moments.
Elsewhere, Spencer (Austin Nichols) got some closure out in the woods and we got one last moment with Deanna as Tovah Feldshuh surprised us all with an appearance as the walker version of Alexandria's late leader. It turned out that Spence had been heading out to the woods on a regular basis to look for his mom after thinking he'd seen her make her way outside the walls during all the calamity. With Michonne on his trail, he learned he was right as Carl led walker Deanna right to them. (Why? Carl later explained to Michonne that "it should be someone who loved her, someone who's family [who killed her.] I'd do it for you.") So Spencer got to put him mom down and have one last moment with her, holding her in his arms, before he and Michonne buried her in the woods. He still wasn't sure he could return to Alexandria, telling Michonne it wasn't home anymore since his family was gone.
"I've been out here chasing you all over the woods," she replied. "You've still got family. You've still got a home."
- Dr. Denise and Tara are shacking up! And finally Merritt Wever got to do some of that adorably awkward acting we know and love her for as she fumbled her words while asking Daryl to bring back some orange soda as a surprise for Tara.
- Is Enid's angsty shtick in the face of the rest of Alexandria's considerable calm annoying or practical? We can't decide.
- Was this episode of The Walking Dead actually, dare we say, funny? Between Rick and Daryl's running commentary on the law of averages, Denise and Eugene (Josh McDermitt) shopping list requests on the pair's way out, and Rick and Michonne's interplay, there was a disarming lightness this week. Of course, bleak tragedy will always rule supreme, but happiness looks good on you, The Walking Dead. You should try it out more often.
What did you think of this week's episode? Initial thoughts on Jesus? And did the big hook up blow your mind or what? Sound off in the comments below!
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC.